Brewvine: Bel Lago
We are heading to the Leelanau Peninsula for this week’s Brewvine, where Bel Lago is showcasing new renovations and delicious drinks.
“We’re real excited about these renovation,” said Charlie Edson, founder and head winemaker at Bel Lago. “We’ve expanded the tasting room so there’s more room and we’ve built this really nice horseshoe bar that will allow everyone in the tasting room to be looking out over this beautiful view we have south Lake Leelanau and we installed more glass so we’re really excited.”
Not only will the tasting room renovations give them more indoor space, it will also give their customers more drinking options at the bar.
“We used to have six taps, now we’ll have eight taps and we have this new canned cider,” said Edson. “So we’ve been making cider for about six or seven years, we finally moved to cans and we canned one dry cider, our Lakeside, and then we canned a sweet cherry cider; they’re both really delicious.”
While this remodel will give them some new cider opportunities, they also have a past in pioneering and brought new wine varieties to the Leelanau Peninsula.
“Bel Lago is really well known for Auxerrois,” he said. “We were the first in the state of Michigan to ever grow this variety and make wine from it and one of the first in the U.S. and it’s a really beautiful white variety that is really well suited for growing in Leelanau County.”
In addition to the world class white wines that Northern Michigan is known for, Bel Lago has spent the last several years specializing in reds.
“One of the things that we will do is we will let our reds sit in barrels for up to three years if necessary to gain the concentration and the texture that we’re looking for, for a really great red,” said Edson. “The pinot noir for example is usually 16 to 18 months in barrels, but a wine like Solia or our reserve Tempesta is more like 34 to 36 months and it’s really interesting to see over that last year how the wine just really deepens and broadens as all these flavors concentrate. It’s difficult but it’s worth waiting for.”